utilities - PastPerfect

PastPerfect provides a variety of utilities to help you manage your data. Two of
the most important are accessed from the Main Menu – Backup and Reindex.
The other utilities are located within a drop-down menu at the upper right of the
Main Menu screen. They are Global Update, Import, Export, Recycle Bin, Restore
Backup, and System Information.
Figure 25-1
Backup & Reindex
utilities on the
Main Menu
This utility is the most important! It allows you to save up to thirty PastPerfect
data backups onto your hard drive. The data is compressed into a zip file to conserve disk space. Your data can also be saved on removable media such as CD,
DVD, flash drive, or external hard drive for off site storage. Data, images, and
multimedia files can be burned to a CD-R or DVD-R to create progressive backups. By placing just one backup on a CD or DVD and using a new disc for each
backup, you create an archive of backups. Should you need to restore data from
an older backup, you have those files saved. For the cost of discs and a few minutes of your time, you have peace of mind in knowing that your PastPerfect data
may be recovered in the event of complete hardware failure.
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We highly recommend that you back up your PastPerfect data every day that you
work in the program. The process takes just a few minutes and someday, if disaster
strikes, it will save you hundreds of hours. We also urge you to perform backups
to removable media at least once a week. The hard drive backup is great for quick
recoveries. However, if your hard drive fails, it will be of no use. The best way to
ensure the safety of your valuable data is to back it up to removable media (CD,
DVD, or external drive) and store it somewhere safe, away from your site.
If you are using PastPerfect in a network environment, it is suggested that all other
users close out of PastPerfect while you make a backup, although it is not required.
Your backup will still be made with the most recent copy of the data available.
To start the backup to your hard drive, click Hard Drive Backup in the Backup &
Reindex section on the Main Menu. You will see the screen in Figure 25-2. Click
the Backup Data to Hard Drive button. The data will be compressed into one file
named “pp5backup.zip.” By default this file will be placed in the C:\pp5\Backup
folder on your local hard drive. When the backup is complete, the PastPerfect
Backup screen will display the date, time, and file size.
Figure 25-2
Hard Drive
Backup screen
In a network environment with PastPerfect data residing on the file server, having
each workstation back up the data to its own hard drive provides security against
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data loss. The backup will contain all the data on the server, not just data entered
at the workstation.
Figure 25-3
Backup Images
& Multimedia
to Hard Drive
All letters are backed up when you back up Multimedia files. They are not included
in the data backup.
When you click Backup Images & Multimedia to Hard Drive, you may select
either Image Files, Multimedia Files, or both, as seen in Figure 25-3. PastPerfect
will make a copy of the images and/or multimedia files and paste them in the
specified drive and folder. Please note that if your data, images and multimedia
files are on the local hard drive, and you make an image/multimedia file backup
to the hard drive, you will have two copies of these files, which may take up more
hard drive space than you want. We advise making image and multimedia backups to a removable medium (CD, DVD or external drive). If you are in a network
environment with PastPerfect data, images and multimedia files on a file server,
making image and multimedia backups to a workstation hard drive, in addition to
a removable medium, is a good idea in case of server hard drive failure.
The PastPerfect Backup screen shows the ten most recent data hard drive backups
and the last image/multimedia file backup. When you click the View More Backup
Information button, the Backup Log screen will open, seen in Figure 25-4. You
have access to the dates, times and sizes of data hard drive backups numbered 11
through 30 on this computer. You can also see the most recent network-wide backups of data, images and multimedia files to hard drive, removable drive and CD/
DVD, as well as a Backup Log.
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Figure 25-4 Backup Log screen
It is possible, but not recommended, to change the destination folder for hard drive
backup files. The change can be made on the Main Menu | Setup | Workstation
Settings screen.
PastPerfect can back up your data, images, and multimedia files directly to a CD
or DVD. CDs and DVDs are stable media, and it is highly recommended that
you regularly use this option if possible. Please be sure that your computer or
workstation is equipped with a CD or DVD recordable drive. You will also need
a blank CD-R or DVD-R disc. We do not recommend using CD-RW or DVD-RW
discs, because if you overwrite the existing backup on the disc, you cannot keep
an archive of backups.
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To set up your CD/DVD backup settings, please go to Main Menu | Setup |
Workstation Settings. In the Workstation Drives section, please use the dropdown menu to choose the drive letter this computer has assigned to the CD or
DVD recordable drive. Please also check the box next to Computer has a CD or
DVD Burner. Then click Exit. You are now ready to start making CD or DVD
Figure 25-5 CD/DVD Backup screen
To start the process, click CD/DVD Backup from the Main Menu. The screen
shown in Figure 25-5 will appear where you can select the types of files to back
up. PastPerfect calculates the size of the files for you, so you can judge if all image
and multimedia files will fit onto one CD or DVD. For example, if you have 700
MB of available space on CD, and your data backup, images and multimedia files
combined are 1 GB in size, you will need to uncheck folders in the Image and
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Multimedia Files lists to make the backup size smaller. The unchecked folders may
be selected and backed up to another CD after you create the initial backup.
Once you check the Space on CD/DVD using the option in the upper right of the
screen, compare it to the file sizes, and select the files to back up, click the Start
Backup button. You will be asked to insert a blank CD or DVD. Please insert the CD
or DVD and click OK. You will see a progress bar at the bottom of the screen as the
backup files are created and the session is closed. The process takes a few minutes,
and PastPerfect will let you know when it is complete.
PastPerfect also gives you the ability to back up your data, images, and multimedia files to a removable drive. A removable drive may be an external hard
drive, USB flash drive, or Zip drive. You can use one of these media for backups
in addition to regularly backing up to CD/DVD.
Figure 25-6 Removable Drive Backup screen
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To backup to a removable drive, please first go to the Main Menu | Setup |
Workstation Settings screen to select the Removable Drive letter assigned by
your computer to the removable drive from the drop-down menu. The setup
process is complete, and you are now ready to start making backups to removable media. Click Exit to go back to the Main Menu.
To start, click the Removable Backup button in the Backup & Reindex section. You
will see the screen in Figure 25-6. Taking into account the size and available space
on your flash drive or external hard drive, select the files to back up and click Start
Backup. This process may take several minutes, particularly for image and multimedia backups.
Making backups to the same media multiple times will overwrite existing files of the
same name. For this reason, we recommend weekly backups to a new CD or DVD.
The Reindex screen allows you to reindex data files for any or all of the 18 data file
groups. Reindexing should be performed when you want to permanently remove
records that have been placed in the Recycle Bin, when directed by the program
or when asked by the PastPerfect support staff. The reindex process permanently
removes any records that have been deleted from catalogs and rebuilds the
indexes that make searches more efficient. Click the Reindex button on the Main
Menu to open the screen shown in Figure 25-7.
By default, the first 15 file groups are selected for reindexing. The last 3 groups,
Spelling Dictionary, Rebuild Catalogs, and Keyword List may be selected as
To add or remove a group from the list, click the check mark next to the file group
name. You may want to click on the Clear All Check Boxes button to remove
all check marks, and then place checks on the file groups you wish to reindex. In
most situations it is recommended that you reindex all files.
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Figure 25-7 Reindex screen
If you are on a network, please be sure all other PastPerfect users have exited the
program before starting the Reindex. You may click Check Now for Other Users
to ensure that all other users are out of the program.
Before you start the reindex process, you may want to print a list of records that
are marked for deletion. Reindexing will permanently remove these records. To
print this report, click on the Print or View List of Records Marked for Deletion
You may rebuild the Keyword List from the Reindex screen, or choose to rebuild it from
the Main Menu | Setup | Keyword Search OR just before performing a keyword search in Main Menu
| Research By Keyword. Rebuilding the Keyword Index outside of the Reindex screen enables network users to perform this action while other users are in the program. It is a good idea to rebuild
the Keyword Index before doing a keyword search. All of the catalog data you entered since the last
rebuild will be added to the keyword list.
Lexicon Rebuild - This button will appear only when the Lexicon needs to be
rebuilt. It is used to assign Lexicon classifications to all catalog records. Object
names that are not found in the Lexicon will be marked as Need to Classify.
Please see Chapter 10 - The Lexicon for more information.
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Skip File Test - This option on the Reindex menu allows the reindex process to
commence without first testing the structure of all data files. Normally this box
should not be checked. Some operating system settings and virus protection software report errors when the file structure is checked, thus requiring the function
to be skipped.
When you are ready to begin the reindex, click Start Reindex Now.
If you have a number of network users and do not wish to disturb PastPerfect use
during business hours by making them close the program, you can set up Automatic
Reindex to a time when no one is working in the program. PastPerfect uses 24 hour
military time to set the start time for the automatic reindex. To activate this function, click the Turn Automatic Reindex ON button and enter the start time in the
Set to Start at field. Please be sure that no other users have left PastPerfect open and
that other computer processes such as automatic backups do not take place when
the reindex is performed. PastPerfect must be left open with this Reindex Databases
screen showing on the computer where the reindex will be performed.
The Global Update screen allows you to make changes to many catalog records at
once and is available from the Utilities drop-down menu. Due to the possibility
of detrimental changes or deletion of data, access to this screen should be limited.
Warning: Before performing any global change you should back up your data.
The first step in making a global update is to select the data table where you want
to make the change from the Select Table list, seen in Figure 25-8. The list of fields
will be updated based on the table you select. Next, select the field from the Click
to Select Field list by clicking once on the field. You will now enter the text as
it appears in the field that you want to change in the Search for box. PastPerfect
will look for the string of characters you enter, character by character. In the box
labeled Replace with, enter the text exactly as you want it to appear in your data.
Warning: Every record with the Search for string of characters in the selected
field will be changed.
Let’s say, you have a Two Rivers Collection which is spelled “Too” in a number
of records. By entering “Too” in Search for and “Two” in Replace with, you will
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change “Too Rivers” to “Two Rivers” for this collection. However, be careful as
you will also change your “Tool Collection” to “Twol Collection,” and your “John
Smith Cartoon Collection” to “John Smith Cartwon Collection.”
If you want to overwrite the Search for text with blank data, leave the Replace
with box empty.
Figure 25-8 Global Updates screen
You may want to click the Count Number of Records which Contain this Data
button to give you an indication of the scope of the change.
If you want to replace the selected field in all records with the Replace with entry,
put a check in the box labeled Replace ALL Fields. If there is no check in that box
then only records whose current data in the selected field matches your entry in
the Search for field will be replaced.
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Finally, click Start Replacement Now to make the change.
Rebuild Accession Addresses - Clicking this button will update the address,
phone, email, and website information in the Accession file from the associated
contact’s information in Contacts. We generally do not recommend performing
this global change.
PastPerfect provides easy portability of your data with the data import and export
functions. You may use Import to load data from other applications. To open the
Import Data screen, click Import in the Utilities drop-down menu.
Importing data into PastPerfect only adds new records. It does not update existing records. Please be sure you have backed up your PastPerfect data before performing an import.
Before importing data, it is important to make sure the data you will be importing is cleaned up and includes the fields PastPerfect requires. Here are a few
• Be sure you are not duplicating Contact ID#s or Object IDs. This means you
should not have duplicates within the file you are importing and the IDs you
are importing should not already be used in PastPerfect.
• If you are importing into Contacts, you will need to have a field in your file
for Contact ID#s for the import to work. This field can be empty, in which case
PastPerfect will assign the Contact ID# upon reindexing.
• You must have Object IDs if you are importing into one of the catalogs –
Objects, Photos, Archives, or Library. You must have an Accession number if
you are importing into Accessions. PastPerfect will not assign these numbers.
• You must have an Object Name for each item if you are importing into one of
the catalogs – Objects, Photos, Archives, or Library. If you are not sure what to
name the item, use “Unknown.”
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• Please create as many fields in your file as possible. You will not be able to
import more data into these records later. For Contacts data, consider creating
fields for First Name, Last Name, Name & Title, Dear Formal and Dear Casual.
• You can import into only one database at a time – Objects or Photos, etc. You
may need to modify your data file so it is broken up into smaller files that contain records for just one database.
• If importing from Excel, remove any columns on your Excel file that you are
not importing. Empty columns will result in data going into the wrong fields.
Figure 25-9
Import Data
Below are the file formats that can be imported into PastPerfect.
dBase - This choice includes data from dBase III–V. Before you import the data,
you must be sure that the field names and types in your data table match the field
names and types in PastPerfect. When importing, only data in fields with names
and types that exactly match the PastPerfect field names and types will be
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transferred. A list of PastPerfect field names and types for each catalog may be
previewed/printed from the Main Menu | Reports | Field Descriptions. The Field
Descriptions reports describe the contents of each field. The field name appears at
the end of the description in square brackets in all capital letters.
For example, the Accession# field is listed as [ACCESSNO : Character (15)]. This
indicates that to transfer data from your file to the PastPerfect Accession# field,
your corresponding data field must be named “accessno.” The type and size is
listed after the field name, for example: [Character (15)] indicates a character field
maximum length 15 characters, while [Numeric (10;2)] indicates a numeric field
length 10 with 2 decimal places format such as #######.##; [Date] indicates a date
field; [Datetime] indicates a field containing both date and time, and [Memo] indicates an unlimited character field.
To change the names and types of your data fields in the source file, you will need
to open the file with the dBase program and use the Modify Structure command.
See your dBase documentation for more information.
FoxPro - This choice includes data from FoxPro version 2.5 through Visual FoxPro
version 9.0. The procedure for preparing data to import from FoxPro is the same
as that for dBase, described above.
Excel 2 - Use this to import data from Excel worksheets versions 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0.
Please make sure that your file is saved as a worksheet, instead of the default
workbook format. You may do this in your Excel file by going to File | Save As
and changing the file type.
Excel 5 - Use this choice to import data from Excel worksheets version 5.0/95 or
97/2000/2003/2007. If you are using MS-Excel 2007, please save your data as an
Excel version 5.0/95 workbook and delete all the sheets except the one you are
Important Note: When importing data from Excel and ASCII files, a limit of 254
characters per field is imposed. Fields with text longer than 254 characters will be
ASCII - Use this option to import data from an ASCII delimited text file. This is a
file in which each record ends with a carriage return and line-feed. Field contents
must be separated from each other by commas. Do not include extra spaces before
540 PastPerfect Museum Software User’s Guide
or after the commas. Character field values must be delimited by double
quotation marks. For example, the fields Object ID, Object Name and Condition
would appear like this:
“1997.001.0002”,“Plate, Commemorative”,“Fair”
You can import dates from delimited files if the dates are in proper date format.
The date format should be either mm/dd/yy or mm/dd/yyyy. Including the century portion of a date is optional. PastPerfect will import a date, such as 12/25/95,
that doesn’t include the century and assumes the date is in the 20th century. This
option may also be used to import CSV (Comma Separated Value) files.
ASCII (tab delimited) - This is almost identical to standard ASCII except that
fields are separated by a TAB instead of a comma.
Once your data is cleaned up and ready for importing, please follow these steps.
Before performing this action, make a backup to hard drive.
Select Source File Type & Name
To begin the import process, select the format of the data you will be importing.
The options are FoxPro, dBase, Excel 2, Excel 5, ASCII, and ASCII tab delimited,
as seen in Figure 25-10. Please note that data from ASCII and Excel have import
limits of 254 characters of information per field. In Select Source File Type &
Name section, chose the type of file from which you are importing.
In the File Name window, enter the complete path and file name of the source
data file, or click on the browse button with three dots at the right of the window
to browse to the source file.
Choose PastPerfect Table
In the Import into this PastPerfect Table section, choose the destination for
the records you want to add. You can import data into the Objects, Photos,
Archives, Library, Accession, or Contacts table.
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These tables do not include any of the related tables, such as Condition Reports,
Media (for images), or Dues and Donations for Contacts. This data must be
manually entered, and images must be manually attached. You may import data
into only one table at a time.
Fields to Import
The next option is to choose All or Selected fields to import. If you are importing data from dBase or FoxPro, you should select All fields. Data with matching
field names will be put in the corresponding field.
Figure 25-10
Select Fields
to Import
If you import from an Excel or ASCII file, you must use Selected fields. Please
click the Select Fields button to choose the fields into which you will import data.
On the Select Fields to Import screen, shown in Figure 25-10, double click on the
field from the Available Fields column at left. The field name will be added to the
right column of included fields. Continue adding fields for all of the data in your
source file. To remove a field, double click on it so it returns to the list of Available Fields. Please make sure the order of the fields on this screen matches the
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field order from the input file. To change the field order, click and hold the gray
box to the left of the field name, then drag it with your mouse to the new position.
When the fields and the field order are set, click Done. You will notice that the
field names appear separated by commas with no spaces.
For example: Objectid,Objname,Catdate,Homeloc,Descrip
Your screen will look like Figure 25-11.
Figure 25-11
Fields to
Prepare Import
Then click the Prepare Import button. This will locate and analyze the source
file and display information and options on the Pre-import Information screen.
Options here allow you to exclude duplicate records or records with blank ID#s
(it is recommended that you exclude these records). You may also narrow the
selection of records by entering a Boolean filter statement.
Before importing, it is a good idea to Browse the records in the Import File Information section. This will give you the opportunity to ensure that the correct data
from your source file goes into the correct fields in PastPerfect. The Browse Destination File button will allow you to see the PastPerfect records in the table into
which you will be adding your records. Click Import Data Now to complete the
After the data is imported, you must do a reindex by clicking the Reindex button
on the Main Menu. Please review your imported records before continuing to do
data entry in any part of PastPerfect. If the data did not come in as expected, you
can restore the backup you made before importing and try the import again.
If you are not able or do not wish to import your data yourself, PastPerfect Software, Inc. offers conversion services, where we can import your data for you for
a fee. Please consider having us assist you if you feel this is a larger project than
you want to attempt.
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The Export function is helpful because it enables you to transfer your PastPerfect
data to other programs. It is important that you are able to extract your data
whenever you want.
To start, click Export from the Utilities drop-down menu. The Export screen will
appear, shown in Figure 25-12.
In the Export Data from this Table section, select the PastPerfect data table from
which you want to export data – Objects, Photos, Archives, Library, Accession, or
Figure 25-12 Export Data screen
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Next, in Fields to Export, choose to export All data fields or just selected data
fields. To export selected fields, choose the Selected option and click the Select
Fields button. Double click on the fields in the Available Fields column on the left,
adding them to the Export these Data Fields column on the right.
For example, to export just the Object ID, Object Name, Condition, Home Location, and Description fields for items in your Objects Catalog, the entry would
look like Figure 25-13.
Figure 25-13
Select Fields to
Export screen
Click Done to return to the Export screen. In the Fields to Export section, the chosen field names will be separated from each other by commas with no spaces, as
seen in Figure 25-14.
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Figure 25-14 Selected Fields to Export
Next, choose which Records to Export. You can export either All records from the
catalog or Selected records based on a Boolean logical statement that you enter in
a filter statement. Filter statements must use the field names as listed on the Field
Description reports, which is not always the same name as those listed on the catalog screen. For example, to export only the items accessioned in 2004, you would
enter the following filter statement, as seen in Figure 25-15.
Figure 25-15 Selected Records Filter Statement
Multiple conditions can be included in a filter statement linked with the word “and”
or the word “or.” For example, you could enter the statement
accessno>“2000” and accessno<“2005”
to export all catalog records for accessions within the years 2001 to 2004. Or you
could enter the following statement to export only catalog records with Home Locations of Storage Building #1 or #5.
homeloc=“Storage Building #1” or homeloc=“Storage Building #5”
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Generally you will select records to export based on the fields you selected to export. After
you select fields from the Available Fields list and click Done, PastPerfect provides the field names
in the Fields to Export section. You can also find field names in the Main Menu | Reports | Field
Descriptions. Field names are in the brackets before the colon and in all capital letters.
Filter statements are case sensitive. Therefore, in the above example a statement
of [homeloc=“Storage BUILDING #1”] would not produce the same results. If
you want to avoid the case sensitivity, use the special UPPER command. For
example, the statement
will export all records with that Home Location, regardless of the case of the entry.
Once you choose the fields and records to export, you need to specify the Output
File Type. Please choose one of the following: FoxPro, dBase, Excel 2, Excel 5,
Excel/HTML, ASCII, XML, Dublin Core XML or Microtext using one of the radio
When exporting data to Excel, each field is limited to 254 characters. In most cases
this won’t be a problem, except for data in unlimited memo fields like Description and Notes. If you
want to export data that is longer than 254 characters, please choose the Excel/HTML option. This
export creates an HTML (.htm) file that is opened in Excel. To save this file as an Excel file (.xls),
please use the Save As option in Excel.
PastPerfect provides an Output File Name that makes it easy to find your
exported files. We would recommend using the default path, but you may enter
a full path name for another location on your computer or network. If you use
the default c:\pp5Reports as the destination, you will be able to find all files on
your local hard drive in a pp5reports folder.
To complete the Export process, click on the Export Now button. A message will
display indicating the number of records exported.
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When you delete a record in any part of the program, the record is removed from
the catalog and placed in the Recycle Bin until a Reindex is performed. These
deleted records may be viewed and restored to their original catalog by using this
To view records in the Recycle Bin, as seen in Figure 25-16, left click on the file
folder under File Types. The records that have been deleted in this catalog will be
listed on the right. If you want to recall the record to its original catalog, double
click on the entry. If you wish to print a list of records that have been deleted, you
may do this from the Reindex Databases screen. Records marked for deletion will
be permanently removed during the reindex process.
Figure 25-16 Recycle Bin screen
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This option is used only if you experience hardware failure, encounter seriously
damaged files, or if you want to transfer PastPerfect data to another computer. It is
highly recommended that you speak with a PastPerfect staff member before restoring a backup.
To start the process, click Restore Backup on the Utilities drop-down menu. You
will see the screen shown in Figure 25-17. Then select the dataset. Data may be
restored from one of the 30 sets of compressed data stored on the hard drive, or
from a backup file on CD/DVD or removable drive created with the PastPerfect
Backup function. When restoring from CD/DVD or removable drive you will
have the option to restore, data, images, and/or multimedia files.
Figure 25-17 Restore Data screen
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Warning: Restoring data will erase all current PastPerfect data. Once data is
restored, you must reindex all data from Main Menu | Reindex.
If you restore images or multimedia files, the files will be copied from the CD/
DVD or removable drive into the appropriate PastPerfect folder. Existing files with
the same name will be overwritten. Please be sure that you include Rebuild Catalogs in the Files to Reindex if you have restored images or multimedia files.
The System Information screen, shown in Figure 25-18, displays the program and
data versions and activated features on the left side in PastPerfect Information.
Figure 25-18 System Information screen
550 PastPerfect Museum Software User’s Guide
This section also lists counts of images and records in the major catalogs – Objects,
Photos, Archives, Library, Accession and Contacts. You can select Display
Data Table Information for more details about the total number of records and
attached images for each PastPerfect table.
When you click the Download Latest Update button, you will be provided with
a link to www.museumsoftware.com to download and run a free update. Periodically, updates will be posted at our website. If your computer can connect to the
Internet, you can use this button to learn about the new features and download
the update file. Be sure to exit the program before running the update.
The Information at Last Backup screen contains computer information, access to
the error log made at the last backup, as well as a log of all backups.
At the bottom of the PastPerfect Information section, you will see access points to
the Error Log. This log contains detailed information about any errors that occur
in the program on this computer. To help resolve problems, PastPerfect support
technicians may ask you to send them a printout of this log or click FTP to copy
the file, so that they may view it electronically.
On the right side of the System Information screen you will see Computer Information about your local workstation as well as Users in Program Now, which lists
computers that are currently accessing the PastPerfect database on the network.
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